The Samsung line of Galaxy Fold phones is, undoubtedly, pretty niche. They're ridiculously expensive, usually with weaker hardware than the flagship S-series phones, and have other problems that may make most consumers weary of them.
While many people looking to upgrade their beloved Android handset may be waiting for the Galaxy S24 release date, and getting ready to use all of the upcoming Galaxy AI features, if you've been even slightly interested in a folding phone, you may want to hold off. At least, for now.
According to a report from Korean website The Elec, as spotted by TechRadar, Samsung is apparently looking to release a cheaper version of the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 6, which is likely to release later this year. It would potentially be a similar offering to the S23 FE, which was a budget-oriented model of the standard S23.
The new Fold 6 is likely to release alongside the Flip 6 too, however, the latter is unlikely to get a cheaper version. The leak suggests that the Z Flip phones are already established, with shipments ahead of the Z Fold line, giving Samsung more of a reason to release a cheaper Z Fold phone for a larger audience.
Considering that the S24 and Plus models are launching with Samsung's in-house Exynos chipset, we'd expect the Fold 6 FE, or whatever it ends up being called, to have the same chip. Fortunately, the Exynos 2400 seems to be performing equally with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, so that should alleviate some worries.
However, we wouldn't start saving or waiting for a Fold 6 FE just yet, if we were you. The same report suggests that Samsung's plans could change, stating that if the industry conditions are bad, releasing three foldable phones in 2024 may actually damage profits. At the very least, it's promising that Samsung is looking to produce cheaper Z Fold models.
Personally, we'd pick up the latest S24U when the S24 Ultra release date arrives, if you're looking to upgrade at least. While we have some concerns about Galaxy AI only being free through 2025, the specs and latest benchmarks put it as a fairly powerful phone. And while we hope that, if it's real, the Z Fold FE would have a substantial price difference between it and the Z Fold 6, you're still likely going to pay a hefty sum for a foldable phone.
However, foldable phones have come a long way in recent years. Even if we don't get a cheaper Fold phone, or have to wait a while before they come down in price, it's great to see so much innovation for such a niche device.